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Brian Jones: the infernal angel of The Rolling Stones | Culture

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Around this time, coinciding with what would have been Brian Jones’s birthday, the debate about the character is revived. For some, he embodies the original sin of The Rolling Stones, exemplifying that cruelty that has allowed them to resist for 60 years. Another option: he was the prototype of rock star bad habit, a burden that they did well to get rid of.

It is worth remembering that Jones (Cheltenham, 1942-Hartfield, 1969) was the leader and driving force of the band during the early days. In fact, the management I secretly paid him an extra amount; When it became known, the other members were outraged. He could have claimed that he used those pounds to support the children he had with different girlfriends but, in truth, he ignored his offspring. Certainly, he did not serve as an ethical model: it is assumed that he mistreated the actress Anita Pallenberg, who ended up taking refuge in the arms of the other guitarist, Keith Richards.

Brian Jones was a walking danger. He thought it would be fun to have his photo taken in an SS uniform. Recklessly, he bragged to strangers about his taste for drugs, opening the door to police harassment against the Stones (and many others). An aside: fabulous hypocrisy that one of the reasons invoked to kick him out of the band was that his transgressions made it difficult to obtain the necessary visa to tour the United States (Richards’ later – and much more extensive – police record did not prevent them from performing in that country. ).

Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards and Brian Jones at St. George’s Church in Hanover Square, London, on January 17, 1964.Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images (getty)

No, Jones was simply the victim of a sordid power struggle within the Stones, won by Richards and Mick Jagger. At the same time they lost, and perhaps they were not aware of it, a great musical asset: Brian expanded the group’s sound palette with his ability to incorporate instruments that were then unusual (sitar, psaltery, recorder, mellotron, autoharp, etc.). The never sufficiently considered pop stage of the Stones is, in large part, the work of Brian Jones.

But there are prodigious musicians who, in the end, lack the motivation, imagination, and energy necessary to develop their own initiatives. The only album with his name on the cover is Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka, wild field recordings made in the Rif mountains and manipulated in the studio. The soundtrack he made for has never been legally released. Murder and manslaughter (1967), second feature film by Volker Schlöndorff, starring his beloved Anita. Now you can listen to it, that way, on YouTube.

There is a divergence of opinions regarding that soundtrack. The German director, not at all impressed by the fact that he had called on heavyweights like Jimmy Page or Nicky Hopkins, had a negative opinion of Jones’ way of working. However, session engineer Glyn Johns, who is not always kind to the musicians he produces, defends the inventiveness of the stone.

You already know the outcome of Brian Jones’ drift. Officially fired from The Rolling Stones on June 8, 1969, he drowned in his pool on the night of July 2: he is credited with founding the hypothetical 27 club. But Pallenberg did not believe in curses or divine punishments: “he was surrounded by people who did not know what to do with an asthmatic who had overindulged with drugs.” So easy?

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